What is Matkot? What is Frescobol?
Matkot and Frescobol are two different names for the same game. Matkot is crazy-popular in Israel, and literally translates as “paddle”. Frescobol is played on the beaches of Brazil, and transliterates as Fresh-Ball. Those of us with English as a first language can join in by playing Frescoball.
With the FIFA World Cup being such a hit from Brazil in summer 2014, and the 2016 Olympics set in Rio, prepare for an influx of all things sporty and Brazilian into global popular culture. Frescoball is a great place to start.
I love frescoball because it’s such a fun and inclusive sport. The objectives are really simple – keep returning the ball, go as fast as you can without letting the ball drop, and have fun. There’s no official scoring system, so nobody wins and nobody loses, which can be a little weird for hyper-competitive people, but they can scratch that competitive itch by seeing how long they can keep going, or by increasing the distance between players.
This particular set is great for the family. It’s affordable, but robust enough to stand up to being thrown in beach bags and the back of the car.
It can withstand the odd dry night left out in the yard, but as it is wooden it’s best to store it indoors, and essential if it’s going to rain.
Frescoball for Fun and Fitness
Frescoball is gaining in popularity because it’s such an equal opportunity sport. People of all ages and abilities can play together because everyone shares the same objective and you can’t lose – it’s all about having fun and getting fit. It’s traditionally played one on one, but doubles is fun and you can play two against one if you have an odd number of players.
People of different generations can play together, so it’s a fun game for grandparents and toddlers. Super-fit people in their teens and twenties can give themselves a handicap by playing with their non-dominant hand if they want to give Granddad the kind of advantage he gave them not so long ago(although they may not have noticed at the time)!
Whether you call it matkot, frescobol or frescoball this sport is brilliant for including people with disabilities, no matter what the disability is your fellow players can work with you to make sure the game goes on, keeping the ball in the air.
Whilst traditionally matkot and frescobol are played at the beach, you can play at the park, and in rainy countries like England you can play indoors at the gym.
sraelis and Brazilians take Matkot or Frescobol very seriously. You can buy paddles that will set you back well over $100 each, but it’s not essential, or even sensible to spend that much. This set comes in at $50 for two really high quality paddles and a ball.
If you love playing, and expect to get plenty of use out of your paddles then this is a good set. Make sure they stay dry through the winter and they’ll last for years.
You can use standard racquetballs to play Matkot, but if you want the ultimate in super-speedy play then go for an extra fast type. The hot pink color is really easy to see, even in the bright light of a beach setting. Real men play with pink balls.
Listen out for the wonderful sound of everyone playing matkot together.
Cheap Beach Fun Alternatives To Matkot
I’d like to think that if you’re tired of frescoball, you’re tired of life (with apologies to Samuel Johnson), but everyone likes some variety. Volleyball is always fun with a crowd, and badminton is a good way to practice racquet skills.
A word of warning if you’re in central Europe – there’s no ocean beaches so people use lake and riverbanks for beach type fun, and if you find yourself travelling down the Danube, you’ll find that naked volleyball is especially popular with pensioners.
If you’re at the beach a lot, or if you have plenty of space and plenty of kids in your backyard then this set provides a whole summer’s worth of fun.
The net can be used for both volleyball and badminton if you are the sort of person who likes playing by the rules, or you can invent all sorts of other games with the kit if you have the sort of family that enjoys coming up with their own versions of games.